UPDATE: It would "take a miracle" for the Braves to sign Johnny Damon

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UPDATE: OK, Boras may need to find another mystery team, because MLB.com’s Mark Bowman is throwing cold water on the idea that the Braves are really interested in the guy:

From what I can gather, the Braves would become players in the Damon
sweepstakes if his price drops to somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-2
million. In other words, it’s not going to happen.  Or as
one Major League source said, “it would take a miracle” for (the
Braves) to sign Damon.

Your move, Heyman.

8:00 A.M. Jon Heyman tweets that the Tigers “could be in play” for Johnny Damon.  This comes a few hours after we learned that the Braves are still interested.

If this rumor had come two days ago I would have said that it was typical Boras smokescreen. He needs a second team involved, real or imagined, so that he can get the Braves to bid higher, and like clockwork comes some thin non-report about a second team courtesy of his alleged mouthpiece Heyman.

But then the Tigers signed Jose Valverde to ridiculous money yesterday. In light of that I think it’s safe to say that we really don’t know what’s motivating the Tigers these days, so yeah, I’d probably believe anything at this point.

Would it be a good fit?  Probably would actually.  As Heyman noted, Damon has always hit well in Tiger Stadium Comerica Park (sorry; I’m still in mourning) and with the DH, there’s a better chance to keep him fresh and play a more defensively-minded lineup when need be.

Really, though, if Damon has truly lowered his asking price as some have suggested, he might be a good fit any number of places. No one doubts he can still hit. The only problem before recently was that he thought he was worth eight figures a year for two or three years.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.